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Veteran actor N Viswanathan dead

November 18, 2010 10:32 IST

Veteran actor and educationist N Viswanathan, who essayed roles in over 100 Bengali, Tamil and English films, died in Kolkata following a heart attack, his family said.

He was 81. Viswanathan is survived by his wife Paromita and son Ashok, also a well known director. The actor died at his residence following a heart attack on Wednesday night, his family said.

Remembered by viewers as a stylish pipe-smoking actor, Viswanathan earned wide acclaim for his role in Satyajit Ray's Kanchenjungha and Mrinal Sen's Punascho. He was a favourite of Ray for the urban, sophisticated image.

Viswanathan was also associated with thespian Utpal Dutt's People's Little Theatre (PLT) and later founded a group of his known 'Calcutta Players'.

Born in Vellore, he later moved to Kolkata and graduated from St Xavier's College making the state his home. He ultimately groomed himself as an orator and debator, known for his 'pucca' British accent.

As former professor of English, he was quite popular in the academic circles. He prided himself as a 'Xaverian' and became associated with many of its activities. At one point of time he was also with Doordarshan, Kolkata, as a newsreader.

A pall of gloom descended over the city's artistic fraternity as prominent personalities visited his south Kolkata residence at Deshopriyo Park and consoled the grieving family members.

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